Sometimes, running unopposed for a city government seat in an election, gives you the opportunity to focus more on your role as a public servant, rather than worrying about your challenger.
That was somewhat the circumstance for Rome City Clerk Jean Isom Grande, who is coming to the end of her first term in office and is running unopposed for a second term. Terms are four years.
Tuesday morning, after casting her vote, she was back in the clerk’s office, which houses vital records as well as handles issuing licenses, permits, and other services.
From there, she indicated that terms go fast and said that the last several months, she has been focusing on finding ways her office can continue providing services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Grande said she looks forward to a day when the North Washington Street seated city hall can once again open its doors and city residents can conduct in person business. “You want to serve the public,” she said. Reflecting on the ongoing closure of city hall to the public - implemented in the spring - she added, “After the first week you’re like ‘OK, maybe I can get some work done,’ But then you’re like, ‘OK, bring me back the people.’”
In an additional statement looking back at 2020 and forward to the future, Grande said, “2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least. Our office is eagerly awaiting the time in which it is safe to open the office back up to the public. Residents of the City of Rome have been very understanding of our current situation and have shown a resounding appreciation toward our office’s efforts to deliver our same services on a daily basis, despite not being able to do so face-to-face. While circumstances have made doing so difficult at times, the gratitude that we have received has been tremendous, and most certainly appreciated.”
Grande continued, “In looking to the future, it is my goal to provide the public with more ease of access options in the City Clerk’s Office. We have recently been in the process of finalizing an agreement with a third-party company that will allow us to accept credit and debit card payments for our services. This has been in high demand for quite some time, and I am happy to report that it will become a reality very soon. After adding a notary public within my first term, I will be expanding our availability by adding another notary. This has been a much-welcomed addition over the past few years, and we want to ensure that we are always accessible to provide this service.”
The city clerk also hopes to tackle preservation efforts of history records for ease of use in the future.
“... Predecessors of mine have taken efforts in preserving the city’s vital records in the past, and I intend on continuing these efforts going forward. The restoration of damaged records books and the addition of new shelving for the same are atop my current list of office priorities. Older records deteriorate significantly over time while improperly shelved, and we are in the process of securing proper shelving to prevent these instances in the future,” she said.
As of 12:30 a.m. today, unofficial results from the Oneida County Board Elections noted Grande - a Republican - received 6,129 votes.